Friday, March 13, 2009

I've Got An Eye On You

An article in yesterday's newspaper staggered me -- although, on reflection, it shouldn't have. This was inevitable.

Rob Spence, a Canadian film maker, lost an eye in a childhood shooting accident. Since then, he has worn a glass eye. Now, however, he is having a prosthetic eye made that will look like a glass eye but will actually be a camera, complete with battery and transmitter. The camera movement will be controlled by his eye muscles, and it will record, secretly, whatever his other eye sees. The tiny camera is a variation of the one used to record colonoscopies.

With this equipment, Spence plans on making a documentary on the global spread of surveillance cameras.

When I read this, a hundred SF stories came to my mind: Gibson's Molly Millions, Sterling's "mechs," even TV's "The Six Million Dollar Man" (which today would be cheap at that price). My own writing tends to focus on reshaping humanity through genetic engineering, but I may in fact be backing the wrong horse. With pace makers for the heart, research into using brain activity to move prosthetic arms, plastic colon replacements, and camera eyes, the cyborg may outpace the genemod baby. And if much of this tinkering does end up involving the brain and the senses... Will we know when we are more robot than flesh? And with what prejudices and exploitations?

It may be that Kazuo Ishigoru (see previous blog) is worrying about the wrong future.


Mike Flynn said...

OTOH, there is this which I linked to on my journal:

and this

I note that the camera eye's wearer doesn't see through the camera. It's simply a new way to hide a camera. When the camera images can be converted to neural impulses on the optic nerve and form images in the imagination, then we might have a prosthetic eye. Or even an enhanced eye.

The eye could be equipped with a microwave. Expressions like "She can knock you dead with a single glance" and "killer looks" would take on whole new meanings.

Mike Flynn said...


in case you run out of power.

Ben said...

Why do the two need to be mutually exclusive? Why not gene-mod babies to better accept technology into their bodies? (Or gene-mod artifical "ports" that tech can hook into/ onto?) Something like less rejection of foreign bodies in the body.

I've always thought your stories had more personality and character in them than a lot of the "technology modifications" I have read, it would be a little more interesting to read more of a blend between your stories (gene-mod) and tech-mod.

I have faith you could handle it...